I may have mentioned this once or fifteen times, but I have a peanut butter obsession. I've tried living without it in the past, but such attempts never last long. At first I try to stay strong, try to snack on things like carrots, sunflower seeds, and apples. But none of them satisfy. The cravings begin. I start to have peanut butter fantasies. Sometimes they involve chocolate. And so eventually (i.e. two days, max) I cave. I buy the peanut butter. I feel like a whole person again.
So I am maybe a little pathetic and OCD when it comes to peanut butter. It rules my life. I don't understand how normal people operate, how a jar of peanut butter lasts for weeks - even months - in their house. How is that possible? If a jar of peanut butter lasts me more than two weeks, I feel like I get to throw myself a congratulatory dance party for exercising an abnormal amount of self control. (Note: Whenever I use the phrase "dance party," I am not referring to an actual, organized party with people, strobe lights, a dj, and drinks, I am referring to my version of a dance party. Which is essentially me, alone in my bedroom, blasting music and flailing and hopping around in what I conceive to be a relatively coordinated manner. It probably more closely resembles a squirrel having a seizure in time to techno music.)
In my defence, however, I would say I use peanut butter a lot more than the average person. Peanut butter is not something just to be smeared onto toast. (In fact I rarely put it on toast.) In addition to putting it on just about everything that isn't toast, I almost always inevitably make energy bars with peanut butter. They are easy, cheap, delicious, and transportable. During my library-dwelling days, these things are pretty much essential to my ability to function as a cognitive being. When my energy starts to ebb in the middle of the day, or I need a pick-me-up morning snack, these are my go-to. They're made from whole, natural ingredients, with no refined sugars, so they won't cause your blood sugar to spike and crash, perfect when you need a little something to keep your energy up while studying.
Also, they basically taste like peanut butter cookie dough.
Peanut Butter Oat Snack Bars
Make sure to look for the all-natural peanut butter - the ingredient list should read: "100% peanuts". This is the good stuff, as it contains nothing but peanut goodness: protein and fat, which will both help you feel full and give you energy. Combined with the dates, which are naturally sweet and full of fibre, these bars will give you a little energy boost without sending you on a sugar crash.
2 cups Rolled Oats
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/3 cups Dates, packed
1/3 cup Natural Peanut Butter
1. If your dates are especially dry, soak them in warm water for 5 - 10 minutes, until softened. Make sure all the pits have been removed - even if they're already pitted, there is often an overlooked pit or two.
2.Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until they clump together. If the mixture holds shape when pinched together between your fingers, it's ready.
3. Dump mixture onto a large sheet of parchment paper and pat into a rectangle with your fingers. Then fold the parchment sheet over the mixture, and using a rolling pin, do your best to flatten out the mixture evenly. Slide onto a baking sheet and transfer to the freezer for at least 1 hour. Remove from freezer and slice into squares. OR Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, then transfer to the freezer for at least 1 hour.
4. Once the energy bars (or bites) are set and sliced, keep stored in the freezer. They will last up to 2 months (though I doubt they'll last that long). Even stored in the freezer, they won't become rock hard, so you can eat them straight out of the freezer.